What Does ‘Hybrid Cloud’ Really Mean?

Increasingly, enterprise IT leaders are realizing the benefits of implementing a hybrid cloud strategy and how it might be the solution to managing the immense amount of data that modern organizations are processing. While a lot of enterprises have either already adopted a hybrid cloud strategy, or have taken the first steps in adopting one, many companies are shy to take the first step in building their multi-cloud IT infrastructure. One reason for this is that there is still confusion as to what the new cloud strategy actually entails.

In a recent article from InformationWeek, Cynthia Harding spoke with Forrester analyst Laura E. Nelson, who recently authored a report on North American and European enterprise IT infrastructure decision makers. Nelson’s survey found that 74% of IT leaders defined their cloud strategies as hybrid. However, the survey also found that 25% of respondents qualify hybrid as, “multiple public and private clouds,” and 23% defined the term as, “integrating public cloud with our non-cloud on-premise infrastructure and data.” As Harding points out, these generic and varying definitions cause IT leaders to have a difficult time preparing and managing the new environment, which stalls adoption.

In setting out to help navigate the complexities of hybrid cloud, Harding and Nelson observe that hybrid cloud is often defined simply as a compilation of tools – it combines best-of-breed technologies and creates a reliable, flexible and scalable ecosystem. The key component to understanding a hybrid cloud system is realizing that one solution is just part of the equation for a larger, interconnected ecosystem of solutions. By combining multiple technologies, enterprises are finding that they can provide the most reliable service, ensure network consistency for the consumer and avoid inconveniences like vendor lock-in.

In order to create the most effective infrastructure, enterprises should be thinking about how to best interweave public cloud services and on-premise infrastructure with third-party data center providers. Third-party data centers play a crucial role in providing access to the cloud and various network and carrier providers, making them a natural and cost-effective supplement to existing infrastructure. Building a cloud strategy with all three elements optimizes data management and helps balance the system to ensure reliability.

By combining best-of-breed solutions, companies can manage massive influxes of data while achieving lower latency and better network performance. Even though the term hybrid cloud encompasses many different cloud-based strategies – ones that incorporate multiple cloud services and non-cloud technologies – hybrid cloud strategy is rising in popularity for its promise to provide the most flexible IT environment, and it is most effective when involving cloud and non-cloud solutions together.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Netrality enables hybrid cloud strategies, we’d love to chat.

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